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No title.
(2013-12-09 - Now)
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Chita Having been several days since the incident with Seith and the day after where Aerith had last seen Chita, it might not come too much as a surprise to find out he had left Valkyrie HQ at some point the day or so ago and that was that. What may be a surprise would be if someone found him at Bodhum, say, relaxing in one of the hotsprings there. His wounds had mostly healed though his throat was still a little sore. At the moment, he sat in his own little quiet hot spring out on the beachfront, not really enjoying the view so much as enjoying the warmth it provided.
Aerith She hadn't gone looking for him.

In any normal circumstance, she would have. But right now, she wasn't about to go poking in his affairs any further. He'd made it clear several times that there was nothing she could do to help, and while that frustrated her to no end, she figured it best to leave him be. It didn't do much for her mindset to just sit there and do nothing, though.

So she decided to go out, at least for a little bit.

Heading to the beach from Cloud Nine, she needed some kind of opportunity to clear her head from what just happened. Zack Fair, of all people, was alive. Missing quite the chunk of his memories about both herself and Tifa, but alive all the same.

Of course, that didn't give him a free pass. He was still what he was, and while she could accept that, she'd never see him in that way again.

Talking with him though... it reminded her of several things she'd ignored. Shinra's ambitions, the war against Wutai, the constant reminder that her world was on the edge of disaster at the hands of a faceless monster who'd drained her world's Lifestream to almost nothing...

It was one of the Shadow Lords. It had to be. She just had to figure out which one. But without much information about how many there were, besides the few she'd encountered, she was left with only one option.

Aerith headed for the shore line, wearing a pair of short denim shorts and her pink and white top. She walked barefoot in the sand, armed with nothing but the silver bracelets on her wrists, materia faintly glowing in their sockets.
Chita Chita's chocobo was laying on the sand behind him at the moment, though when Aerith walked by, the half-asleep bird raised his head and watched her for a moment, almost curious. Oh, right, her. They'd met a few times off and on in Chita and her's interactions in the past, though never directly had much interaction. Stretching out and standing, the mount of the Judges, now a shade of black, trotted towards her before attempting to somewhat politely(As much as a giant bird can) bump his head against her shoulder to get her attention and get pet.

The viera who was relaxing nearby seemed a bit confused for a moment when Senra simply up and trotted off, but didn't think much of it, knowing the chocobo well enough to know he wouldn't cause trouble and was likely just sating his curiosity at something.
Aerith For the longest time, Aerith just stood there, her toes in the sand and eyes closed, listening to the waves. The soothing sound of the water cleared her thoughts for a good three minutes, until there was nothing but silence. Of course, what came after the silence was awareness, and it wasn't long before she felt a presence behind her. There was no darkness here besides the night, though. She didn't turn around until the last second, and had her assumption confirmed. "Hey, big guy." She smiled. "Come to watch the moonlight too?"

She took a few steps forward, confident in her actions. "You sure are pretty, aren't you?"
Chita Chocobo's can't exactly smile, but he seemed happy enough with any attention he got, not pulling away or acting skittish or anything. Not being THAT far away from Chita, when he heard the familiar voice, he seemed confused. Was that Aerith? Was he imagining things? "Senra, who are you bothering? Quit being nosy and leave people alone." Chita called out towards the Chocobo, grumbling a bit though not entirely certain where he went. He had called such out on the off-chance that it /was/ Senra that was poking around for a treat or attention or both.

Though how he recognized that voice did make him wonder - WAS that Aerith, or was he simply imagining it? Hard to tell when everything one can see is darkness.
Aerith Aerith ran her hand along the chocobo's beak. "Not afraid of me at all... which means someone trained you." She put her forehead against said beak and closed her eyes for a moment. "The question is, who?" Whoever rode this bird on a consistent basis would leave something of themselves behind, and she would be able to determine who it belonged to from there. After a few seconds of searching, she opened her eyes... though her features were clouded with worry. "So he's here too, huh?" She looked up at the bird. "And your name is Senra, then." Oh yes, she'd found that out too.

Aerith smiled. "Well then, Senra, do you want to watch me practice for a bit?"
Chita The Chocobo cocked his head a little at the question as if not quite getting what she meant before he raised up proper and turned to look towards Chita, a bit off, who had called out to him. Wings stretching out briefly he leaned down to poke at her shoulder again in passing before turning to walk back towards his owner. "... who were you off bothering?" Chita asks him when he comes back curiously. "It sounded like her, but..." sigh. Sometimes he really wished he could simply see. It'd make things so much easier. Sure, he could hear well and some things he associated with certain individuals. But it was noisy out here and there was a fair bit of people.
Aerith "Well I guess not." She looked over to where Senra was headed and, sure enough, there was Chita in the distance. It wasn't necessarily proper to interrupt whatever he was doing... and she didn't have the heart to call out to him. Not yet.

So she faced the shore line again and put him out of her thoughts for the time being. One couldn't truly practice without having their mind clear of any doubts. It took her another three minutes, but she found herself once again clear of distractions, leaving nothing but that awareness.

She opened her eyes and took in a sample of the sea air, then lifted her right foot a few inches off the ground before giving the beach a good stomp.

For ten feet around her, the ground was aglow with a pale green light, motes of spirit energy rising from the sands. It wasn't long before several images appeared, ones from her memories. Shinra had sent their security forces to capture her so many times, she'd lost count. Now they were here again, twenty of them, surrounding her with night sticks and shock wands.

Aerith barely held them off back then.

She called up her staff in her right hand, wrapped it over her shoulder, and took a defensive stance. They responded in kind, all starting to circle her, one of them looking for an appropriate time to attack.

Eventually, one of them did, from behind. He got nailed square between the eyes, the image knocked back into two others.

Everyone came after her at that point, all at once.
Avira "OH <GOOSEHONK>!!! HOLD ON!!! I'VE GOT THIS!!!!!" Came a loud shout from down the shore. This was the only warning Aerith really got before a chilling wind picked up.

Suddenly, in short order, ice was blowing through the air, howling as it did. Razor-sharp shards twisted and shot about, weaving themselves into vaguely wolf-like shapes as the magic descended upon the glowing green figures that were converging upon Aerith. The strike is over in seconds, the ice magic disappating into puffs of frost that leave the sand beneath Aerith's feet cold and damp.

Fast moving thumps of booted feet against sand-audiable due to the speed and intensity of the runner-quickly follow. A turn of the head will easily show the culprit. Avira runs, her cloak streaming behind her, the Spine gripped tightly in her right hand. There's a determined look on her face. "Hang in there, Aerith!"

Aerith Three distracted. Two more came from the left, and she turned with the staff extended, knocking them away as well as three more from the front. The others managed to duck under, only to get beaten back by a swing from the other direction. Those that were knocked down seemed to get back up again, but not before seeing several of their comrades being smashed, scooped, swept, and beaten the tar out of.

Then, she heard something that almost made her lose concentration, and six of the twenty were handily eliminated by ice magic in the form of wolves.

Aerith... merely smiled and let her join in.

It wasn't like she had anything better to do. And besides, if Avira really thought she was in trouble, that was fine. She just had to adjust for the extra person.

Aerith spread the circle further to a twenty foot radius, and soon Avira found herself in the midst of glowing green light... with two shock sticks swinging at her head. "You here for the party too?" she called out as she continued her training routine.
Avira In short order, Avira has charged into the circle, carving her way through with her weapoon as she does so. Trails of blue light follow the blade, leaving behind brief streaks in the huntress's wake. Every movement is calculated, every turn is protected, betraying previous experience in fighting back large groups. It's the truth, on some level, though those large groups tended to be Heartless instead of people. Some Heartless were tall and human-shaped enough to qualify.

The difference here is Avira still thinks this is serious. Not that she never took training seriously either-have Angantyr as a mentor and you'd die if you didn't take his training seriously. Same goes for Garland.

"You could call it that!" she grunts, swiping her sword upwards to deflect both of the incoming shock sticks with one powerful stroke. As she spins, she uses her momentum and lashes out her foot behind her to kick the figures back.
Aerith The two guards, not expecting her to react so quickly, were kicked away before they could respond. Avira caught the attention of a few more after that, and they rushed to the aid of their fellow soldiers. It thinned the numbers out enough for Aerith to handle herself with a bit less strain.

Then again, strain was what she wanted.

Aerith rammed her staff into a guard's gut, kicking behind her at the same time to check another in the head. Two more came in from either side, and she poked at one, then the other, taking the wind out of them. All four got a taste of the sand with a sweep at their ankles, just before the Cetra leapt upward and rammed her weapon down on one of them, turning him into specs of light. She didn't waste another second as she rammed her staff down again, this time on one behind her. That one dissipated as well... but as she made an attempt at a third one, her weapon was deflected, and a boot to her middle sent her stumbling backward.

Other guards saw this and jumped at the opening... only to be sent back by another wide sweep, this one a full circle. Four of them hit the sand hard, and winked out just as easily as the others.

The rest of the guards seemed to hesitate a bit at this...
Avira Beyond that brief exchange, Avira didn't speak. Aerith would here grunts and snorts of exertion every now and then, but beyond that, only the thud of feet upon the sand or crinkling of ice magic really indicated what she was up to.

Twisting again, Avira inverts her blade and slams it down into the sand at her feet, buring the point of it deep underneath. The faint blue glow of ice magic upon it suddenly intensifies. Around her in a semicircle, aimed at the guards, massive pillars of sand-filled ice jut upwards, entrapping some of the spirits and knocking others back from the magical blast. Those entrapped suddenly become Avira's targets as she leaps forward, pulling her weapon free from the ground as she does so.

With a mighty shout and a mighty blow, she smashes the Spine into those ice crystals, shattering them and the spirits within.
Aerith Permanently gone were six more. The herd had thinned to nine.

The guards Aerith knocked down were getting their bearings back, but she was already moving to one of the others that still stood. Before he could properly make an advance, she smashed his right side in, then stepped forward and rammed the back end of her staff into the side of his head. In the next instant, the guard wailed as Aerith scooped him up, carried him over her head, and dumped him behind her, where two others were trying to advance. They all went poof, but not before the others got back to their feet and tried to surround her again.
Avira Avira's steps become a good deal crunchier as she charges over the sand, leading with the Spine. As she does, she seems to be targeting guards already engaged with Aerith, swiping and cleaving through them as she passes. She doesn't look back with each blow, perhaps expecting each one to fell a spirit. Or rather, that's at least how it had worked with the weaker Heartless.

Any that approach will have to do so quickly. Trying to sneak up on her from behind prompts Avira to quickly invert the grip on her weapon and stab behind her with a well-practiced movement.

"Who else wants some!!" Avira calls out, rounding on whoever dares to remain.
Aerith They turn to face her, though some of them are a bit too late.

Two of them fall with a single swipe, while a third makes his best attempt to defend himself, only to have his night stick cleaved through like a twig. Aerith doesn't mind cleaning up the mess, and soon her staff claims one more. The other two look toward each other and decide tonight is not their night. They run, and soon fade into nothing.

Aerith sighed and drew in the energy she'd spread out for this little exercise, the pale green circle of energy closing in on her, then into her. "Well that was fun, wasn't it?" She turned toward Avira. "Thanks for helping me train, by the way." Aerith giggled. "Before you say anything, yes. That was just about as real as I could make it. Would they have seriously injured me? No." She took a few steps toward the clan leader, willing her staff away with a flash of light. "Would they have given me a good bruise if I made one too many mistakes? Oh yeah. And they'd have done the same to you."
Avira "That's what I thought." she says firmly as the spirits are felled with cunning and expediencey. Then Aerith speaks and Avira frowns.

"Wait, so you weren't really in trouble there?" Her frown deepends. "Well then. Sorry about that, I didn't mean to interrupt your training or anything. It just looked like you were kind of outnumbered there by ghost guards or something." Hey, she's not going to question it. Search Ghosts are actual Heartless after all. She's seen weirder. "So uh..."

AWKWARD PAUSE. "...yeaaah...just came to see if I'd catch Angantyr here."
Aerith Aerith giggled. "You were mistaken, but I hope not disappointed." She turned toward the sea again. "You never really told me about Angantyr, by the way. Who exactly is he?" She shrugged. "I know he's a dark knight, but I haven't quite had the chance to talk to him. That keyblade of his is interesting as well."
Avira "Can't say I'm too disappointed. Practice is practice." Avira shrugs and casually sheaths her weapon. The sheath sticks out to the side a little and the hilt of the Spine can be seen over her left hip. "Angantyr? He is my mentor and friend."

She turns to face the ocean and crosses her arms over her chest. "He was with Clan Dagda when they found me, working as a mercenary. After I recovered from my ordeal in the wild, I begged him to teach me how to fight. He did, though I didn't know at the time how brutal a teacher he was." Avira smiles at nobody in particular. "But I adapted and grew stronger."
Aerith Aerith gave a nod. "So how does a dark knight get a keyblade?" She chuckled. "You know what, better question. What is a keyblade anyway, besides a sword? How does it work? What does it do?"
Avira "That's a good question for Angantyr, really. He seems to have undergone some kind of trial conducted by a guy named Lucas. The keyblade itself seems to be some kind of anti-Heartless weapon that can lock or unlock anything. Beyond that, I'm unsure! Like the Heartless..." Avira shrugs again, "It's all very mysterious."
Aerith "Unlock anything, huh?"

She placed a hand on the back of her neck for a moment. "I suppose I could ask Mercade about it, since he has one as well. Surely he's done some research or something." She blinked. "Come to think of it, I don't know him all that well." Aerith smiled. "Another person I have to talk to, then."

She turned toward Avira. "Well, I don't have anything better to waste time on besides avoid a certain someone. What do you do for fun?"
Avira "Probably." Avira remarks. "He's a detective so I bet he's done the detectiving thing all over it. I do remember him talking about the Lucas guy too and how he was super cryptic. Kind of like an obtuse Yoda or something." Absently, she waves a hand, her arms falling to her sides. "Well, you know where the TDA offices are, right? Just drop on in."

She tilts her head to the side. "Fun? Read, go out in the woods, hang out with animals, that kind of thing. I've been trying to teach myself BASIC these past few months."
Aerith Aerith chuckled and made her way toward the shoreline. "Well how about this? We're going to sit here and play in the waves for a bit. I mean, we're at the beach, it's warm outside, and I don't want to go back to the bar just yet." She headed further toward the shore line. "Coming?"
Avira "I think..." Avira starts to remove her boots. "I think I wanna sit here and stick my feet in the water. That sounds like a good idea to me after that workout. By the way, did you get a chance to catch up with Maira? I know you came with us to the VALKRI headquarters with Alice." she pauses, "...we should move her. My headquarts here has a history of getting attacked."
Aerith Aerith nodded. "Yeah, I did... and yes, we should." Aerith let the waves wash over her bare feet. "The only question is, where would we hide someone that is quite possibly one of the most wanted women in all the worlds?" Aerith chuckled. "I guess that would make Maira one of those as well. She's fine with you, though."
Chita Finally having made his way up and out of the hotspring where he was trying to soak some of the aches out of his body from getting thrown around the other day by Seith. A simple pair of swim trunks on, and a loose 'Hawaiian-style' shirt on that he probably got from one of the shops here at Bodhum, he stands there, ears perked up as if listening. He was curious if all that commotion earlier was still going on.

It wasn't, and talking was soft, so he didn't directly pick up anything special as someone or something he recognized. So, he asked, "Hey, who were you bothering earlier? Take me to them if they are still here?" And with that the now black Choco stops looking at Chita and raises up to look around. Chita takes the moment to casually lift himself onto the birds back before he trots over toward where Aerith and Avira are. As tall as the Chocobo was and Chita being rather easily seen with his ears and such, given he was a fair bit above everyone else casually walking around, it wouldn't be hard to spot him approaching.
Avira "Experience has taught me you can't really hide. Travelling a lot helps but...they will find you eventually." Avira's gaze darkens. "Still, perhaps there are places to go that are less obvious. Halloween town maybe." She doesn't bring up Maira, who had a few more advantages other than just Avira's protection.

Hearing and, in fact, smelling the nearby chocobo, Avira peers over her shoulder to see the approaching Chita. "Oh. Hey."
Aerith Aerith didn't have to look behind her to take note of the bird, or the viera for that matter. "The big guy's gone through a bit of a change, hasn't he?" She takes a good look up at the stars for a moment. "Why are his feathers all black, Chita?"
Chita "Hello... Avira?" he asks with a slightly confused tone. "I did not realize my Chocobo had been bothering you earlier - or was... he bothering you?" Chit asked in turn towards Aerith. He thought he'd heard Aerith's voice, but he hadn't really heard Avira's. Perhaps he simply wasn't paying attention/they were too far away at the time to make out such fine details. As to the next question, Chita thought about it before 'looking' towards Aerith and saying, "I suppose I never did get around to telling you about that. I found a book at Duagerreo, a hidden library on a small island near Clerya, that apparently detailed a chocobos quest to growing up. Or something like that. It read and looked like a childrens book, but when I realized it depicted places around the World of Ruin and... I started visiting them, the plants there, when he ate them, changed him bit by bit. Recently my, uh..."

He paused as he thought of how to describe Rhiannon without directly saying 'Rhiannon', since he didn't recall who if either knew such offhand, " traveling companion, briefly, and I ventured to get one more part. I had to have aid since I can no longer search on my own." he sighed to that as if admitting the blind thing was more of a problem than he'd really let on.
Aerith Aerith gave a nod. He didn't have to say anything about... her. She already knew he preferred the mad scientist's assistance, though why that was so beat the ever-loving hell out of her. Regardless, she didn't mention Rhiannon either. Just the very thought of her made her blood boil, so she took in a breath to clear said thoughts out.

"I'm glad," she sighed, "that you found what you were looking for." Aerith turned then, a convincing smile on her face. She was glad he couldn't see it. "So this is the result, huh?" Aerith ran a hand through Senra's feathers. "He looks very noble now."
Chita Chita chuckles softly. "I would not know. I have not actually seen him since he changed. The only reason I know is I was told. That, and his feathers seem a little thicker. And perhaps he seems a little lighter on his feet, unsure." With Avira excusing herself to take care of something, Chita thinks about things for a moment before slowly slipping off the Chocobo and saying, "I, ah... have been meaning to say this for a while now, but I have been an ass to you and I know that. I apologize for such, it is not who I am."
Aerith "Don't worry about it. I've already forgiven you." She turned her head down, staring at the sand. "But now you've left me all confused."

Aerith sighed. "You know, I thought I could help you out by just..." She huffed, folding her arms in front of her. "I dunno what I thought. I just..."

She shook her head and looked up at him. "Okay, let me start over. I'm not going to beat around the bush about this. You know me; I'm very direct about what I say and how I say it. So let's get this out of the way before anything else." She took in a breath. "What do you need from me?" Before he could answer, she continued on. "Before you take that the wrong way, let me explain. I need to know what sort of help you need from me, if at all. I kept on assuming that there was a certain thing I could do for you, but now I realize that I have no idea what you want to happen."
Chita What did he want? That was an odd question. One that he wasn't even sure he knew how to answer. Was it a question with an answer? Was he wanting something from her? Her quick snap response got a guilty grin out of him. He hadn't immediately thought of such, nor would he really actually suggest such, though that she snapped to such did amuse him. Is that how he came across?

"I do not really know, Aerith. I do not... need, or want anything, that I really wish you were offering, as far as I know. Why... do you insist on helping me, though? Do you truly think I need help that badly? I..."

He paused at that and shook his head, "I do not enjoy being needy or coming off as needing others. I hate it. I have worked so hard to get to where I can care for myself and not require others that... the injury from Maleficent has really hit me where it hurts the most." He hated to admit it, but by all accounts, he really was acting rather suicidally by continuing to go out and trying to protect others, trying to do things instead of keeping himself safe.
Aerith Aerith blinked for a moment. So it wasn't just his eyes that were damaged. His pride was hurt, and that was something everyone guarded well. And while he'd done well for himself in that fight against Seith, his constant defeats left him... well...

Aerith shook her head. She was just assuming things again. "So... tell me what you think I'm doing. Honestly, I think I'm hurting more than helping. Now I have to watch every word I say around you, and I don't like doing that."
Chita "What I think you are doing?" As much as it bothered him to admit it, "I know you are just trying to help. I know that... that is why I apologized. I acted like a child who was trying to climb onto something too tall who was angry someone came by and simply picked them up and put them down where they wanted. I promise to try and not let such get to me... that pride will be my death, if I can even die anymore considering Hades' curse... and I need to be around to keep you safe too, yeah? I cannot simply lead the life of an Invalid now."

At least as far as he knew, nothing could be done, so he couldn't keep trying to dote on his pride without hurting the others around him. Which is why he said that when he realized it. "If I keep acting like I have been and... trying to carry on for my own sake, I will wind up hurting those I care for. Like you. And I cannot have that."
Aerith Aerith smiled. "Look... it's fine to want to take care of others. Spirits know that I've tried and failed more times than I'd like to, and I'm trying to improve myself because of it. But sometimes I take a step back from all that and remember that there are all these other people who I can count on." She shook her head. "I know you don't want that kind of help. You want to change things with your own strength, and that's admirable. I just wish..."

Aerith shook her head. "You know what? Never mind." She walked over and ran a hand along one of Chita's ears. "Can we stop walking on eggshells around each other now? It's frustrating. And besides, someone so handsome, with such a nice voice, shouldn't be so moody." She stepped back with a grin. "Girls like me won't like guys like you if they're always moody."
Chita Chita listens and due to being blind, didn't exactly notice the smaller things like the smile, or as she reached up to touch his ear. The Viera shivered faintly at the touch, quite surprised by it, but he didn't pull back. Instead, he almost seemed a bit confused, the warm ear probably feeling much like a rabbits if she'd ever had the chance to pet a rabbits ears.

"I have never heard that expression, though I can guess what it means." As he says this, his left hand reaches up to gently lay over the hand that was on one of his ears, attempting to draw it down. "But could you not use your charm against me? It is hardly fair. After all... you know full well my feelings and thoughts on a lot of things... and could probably tell just as well as I that you, what is the saying, have me by the balls?"

Part of him recalled someone saying that expression at one point, to demonstrate that they were rather caught for some reason or another. "And... if that is the case, then why does anyone associate with that idiot Angantyr? Especially Maira. I have never understood why she has anything to do with him." There was a bit of a sadness in his voice on that front, almost bitter. Old memories, perhaps.

Even having attempted to lower her hand, though, he hadn't exactly made an effort to let go of it - not even realizing such as he was talking.
Aerith Aerith chuckled. "Okay, I'll play nice. As for that last one, you'll have to ask her yourself." She placed a hand atop his. "I don't know what else to say, really..." She turned toward the ocean again. "...So I might as well not say anything and just enjoy the evening."
Chita "One of these days, Aerith, you're gonna try to be cute and use that to your advantage with me and I'll do something that will surprise you." At that, he used his hand with hers to try and quickly turn her around before hugging her from behind. "Seriously though, what the hell was that crap you were trying to make me drink at Serendipity? I was so drunk I did not even notice my state of dress and I could still smell the rancidness of that concoction."
Aerith Aerith let herself get pulled into the hug. Maybe it was for the best that this happened. If it happened more often, she wouldn't mind at all. "Homemade recipe from a friend of mine. You weren't supposed to smell it, taste it, or even think about it. Just down it in one shot and let it work." She looked up at him. "It's called a Prarie Oyster."
Chita "Yes, well, it can stay in its' shell. I have no interest in putting that anywhere near my lips, let alone in my mouth." He started to make a silly remark but decided against such and instead said, "Looking for something?" He couldn't see what she was looking at, but he did pull his head back just a bit in case she was looking at the sky. He could be seen smiling though, just a little. It was nice to feel on a more even ground with her than feeling like a charity case. Then again... perhaps she still was treating him like that and he simply did not realize it.

This scene contained 42 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Aerith, Chita